The reigning champions were held to a 2-2 draw by Army Red in their tournament opener.
The defending champions Gokulam Kerala FC will face the high-scoring Hyderabad FC in a do-or-die Group D encounter at the Kalyani Stadium on Thursday, September 16, 2021.
Gokulam Kerala FC have had a slow start to their campaign with a tie against Army Red in the first match with a score of 1-1. Whereas Hyderabad FC began their campaign in style winning their first game against Assam Rifles 5-0.
Speaking before the match Gokulam Kerala FC Coach, Vincenzo Alberto, said, “We didn’t start that well and we didn’t perform that well especially in defence. We need to register better balance and we also left a lot of distance between the striker and the defenders. We are adjusting and we hope that we will perform much better in the next game in both defence and attack.
“We want to ensure that our midfielders can make more penetrative runs to support the attack. We certainly hope that we will be able to do much better.”
He also commented on Hyderabad FC and said, “Hyderabad FC is a good team with a lot of talent and filled with talented youngsters. As I said it completely depended on us and we need to bring more winning mentality while going into the game. We need to play more like Gokulam.”
Hyderabad FC have a host of young talents and they came out all guns blazing in the first match and speaking before the match Hyderabad FC, Coach, Shameel Chembakath said, “We will be following the same approach but we need to have a more competitive attitude as the opponents are quite strong and they are coming into the battle with well-experienced players. Since we won the first match, a lot has changed in the mindset of our team as they are working hard to ensure we can continue our way. This approach towards the game is very inviting.”
He also added about the opponent Gokulam Kerala FC and said, “They had a slow start in the first match but things won’t be the same next time around. It can change very quickly. It is a tough road ahead for us. Gokulam, being the defending champions, will not be easy to face. But we will try and fight till the end with the same spirit.”
The top two teams from each group will qualify for the Durand Cup quarter-finals scheduled to kick-off from September 23, 2021.
In Group D Army Red leads the lot with four points, while Hyderabad FC are placed second with three points. A loss for Gokulam Kerala FC in this match will lead to qualification for Hyderabad FC and Army Red for the quarter-finals as the top two teams from Group D.